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Toni Hart

Black Girls SHOOT!, Founder & President 

NRA Pistol & Rifle Instructor

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Certified General Instructor

State of Florida Certified Law Enforcement Officer

Safety Professional

My Story

I began my law enforcement career in 2007. I was 29 years old and I had never held a gun before in my life, let alone fired one, and I was about to start police academy. I was nervous, scared and didn't want to start without having at least some hands-on experience prior to academy. Basically, I didn't want to embarrass myself at the gun range in front of my entire class, so I called the only person I knew that had a few firearms and asked him to take me to the range...BIG mistake. 

After leaving the range with a busted lip from the pistol grip 12-gauge shotgun he had me shooting like a handgun, I learned lesson Number 1: Just because you own a firearm doesn't mean you're proficient with one. The mere fact that you own a gun means nothing if you don't know how to use it. I assumed because my friend owned so many guns that he knew how to use them and could teach me how to use them safely.

Police academy wasn't much better. During the two-week firearms course there were more war stories told than actual firearms instruction. Between the written examination and live-fire qualifications more than half of the class failed. Those that didn't pass had to retest and a few others failed out completely and were terminated. I passed both on my first time, mainly, because I studied the curriculum, took myself to the gun range outside of the class instruction and focused during my live-fire qualification. It was then I learned lesson Number 2: Practice makes perfect. I mean, I wasn't a sharp-shooter by any means, I'm still not. But I definitely improved my shot because I practiced at it. 

However, once a year law enforcement training just wasn't enough for me. I needed to learn more, shoot more, but I didn't want to do it on my own.The problem was, I just didn't see enough women of color at the gun range. Walking in, feeling out of place, and just wanting to get out of as fast as I could, felt intimidating. Why was there no one that looked like me at the gun range? Where are my Sisters at? Then the answer became clear, I have to bring the women here.


My first group range day was with my two youngest daughters, they were 12 and 14 at the time. My youngest daughter had been begging me to take them shooting and I'll admit, I was hesitant due to them being so young. As it turns out, they were excellent shots and I enjoyed every minute of teaching them safe gun handling techniques. Which brings me to lesson Number 3: Share your passion with someone you love. Teaching my daughters how to protect themselves, giving them the ability to feel empowered, and watching them overcome their fears led me to start Black Girls Shoot!   


If you've made it this far down the page, I want to encourage you to keep going! It's ok if you've never seen or touched a gun before, we've all been there. Join us at a range day meetup, take one of our classes, or just come and watch. We got you Sis!

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